The Russian dictator waving to Houston Street

RedsquarecityrealtyThis hand-sketched ad for Red Square, the artsy, “luxury rental” apartment building on Houston Street between Avenues A and B, comes from a 1990 issue of Interview.

Anyone who has seen the building, which towers 13 stories over a low-rise stretch of Houston, will recognize the big block “Askew” clock on top, with its out-of-sequence numbers.

The other unusual feature on the building’s roof—the statue of Russian dictator Vladimir Lenin, his hand raised in victory—wasn’t added until 1994.

Redsquaread2So why is a statue of the leader of the Russian Revolution on a Manhattan apartment building?

It’s a nod to the fall of Communism in the Soviet Union back in 1989, the year the building—appropriately named Red Square—was built, reports this New York Times article.

“The 18-foot Lenin statue was originally a state-commissioned work by Yuri Gerasimov, but the Soviet Union’s implosion prevented the statue from going on public display. It was found by an associate of [a building co-owner] in the backyard of a dacha outside Moscow.”


And it’s no accident that the statue of Lenin is positioned so it’s facing the Financial District.

“Mr. Shaoul noted that Lenin faces Wall Street, capitalism’s emblem, and the Lower East Side, ‘the home of the socialist movement,”’ added the Times.

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5 Responses to “The Russian dictator waving to Houston Street”

  1. EV Grieve Etc.: Mourning Edition | NYC Real Estate News Says:

    […] A little Red Square-Lenin history (Ephemeral New York) […]

  2. Bob Says:

    I am guessing that the Shaoul they mention in this article is slumlord Benjamin Shaoul’s father, who was also once in real estate. Maybe one day Lenin will fall on Ben when he is walking down Houston and we will be free of his tyranny!

    The New York Times article also mentions the Essex Street trolley terminal, which might make a good blog post for Ephemeral.

  3. Red Square in the East Village | Says:

    […] that was a gas station for 25 years, were designed by Michael Rosen and the statue of Lenin, which points toward Wall Street, was added later following the fall of the Soviet Union when it was discovered in Moscow. The […]

  4. Max W. Says:

    Haha I love how they refer to Lenin as a “dictator.” He was anything but. However, I understand it’s important for Americans to believe that communism is inherently “evil,” and anything associated with it is bad. Great way to impeded social progress. The corporate arm of the United States, and Senator McCarthy, are smiling down on you from heaven.

  5. East Village’s quirky rooftop Lenin statue is removed | Ask Csaba Says:

    […] New York noted that the 18-foot-tall statue was originally commissioned by the U.S.S.R., but the socialist […]

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